Known as Pata Negra or Black Hoof, the Ibérico pig, is a descendant of the wild boar that once inhabited the Mediterranean forests. The last free ranging and grazing pigs in Europe, the Ibérico pigs are an integral piece of an ecosystem that exists today solely in the dehesa, the cultivated holm oak and cork forest of western Spain.
the secret to its flavor
During the fattening season or montañera, Ibérico pigs feast almost exclusively on fallen acorns (known as bellota) and wild herbs. This entirely natural diet and the exclusive ability of the Ibérico pig to store large fatty deposits, which filter throughout the muscle mass liberally marbling the meat in appearance, give it the incomparable tenderness, taste, and texture that make Ibérico de Bellota the best pork in its class.
ibérico de bellota’s health benefits
Because of the Ibérico pig’s acorn and natural diet and its unique ability to process and store fat, Ibérico de Bellota ham contains over 70% monounsaturated fat — making it high in “good cholesterol” or HDLs. High levels of “good cholesterol” have been linked to a decreased risk of heart disease.
fermín, josé andrés and wagshal’s
As Spain’s unofficial culinary ambassador to the U.S. and a customer of Wagshal’s Market, celebrated DC chef José Andrés brought together Fermín and Wagshal’s while at the market one day. The result? A culinary match was made between the best Spain has to offer and an American butcher with rare, old-world skills who would be an excellent steward for such a prized product.